Are you looking forward to starting your limited liability company in Florida?
If yes, then you are in the right place. Probably you are lost on how to start an LLC in the state of Florida. How much will it cost you to form an LLC, and can you pay using your credit card? Can you start it on your own, and how long will it take you to set up the Florida business?
Well, worry no more. Having gone through the process and conducted research on the process, we have all the answers to your questions. You’ll be doing a lot of de-service to yourself if you don’t go through this ultimate guide. You can also check out the best LLC formation service according to Matcha Business LLC reviews. Moreover, find out what are the best states to form a LLC in this post, such as Ohio LLC, for example. Also, you can read about LLC forming in neighboring California here, as well. On the other hand, if you look to set up your business in New York, check out all the benefits that come with it in this review. Also, check out how to start an LLC in PA nearby and seamless Wisconsin LLC, Maryland LLC forming, or nearby NC LLC, to boot. On the other hand, if you prefer, you can opt to start a Limited Liability Company in Illinois, or start a Limited Liability Company in Colorado.
How Do I Create an LLC in Florida?
Are you still lost on the best way to start a Florida LLC?
Well, for starters, after coming up with a name and address, you need to file Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations.
The Article of Organization is the legal document that allows you to operate a Florida LLC.
You can file the Articles of Organization in person, by mail, or file online at the Florida LLC Sunbiz website.
If you want to set up your LLC and you require some help, you can check out this IncFile review here.
So, which steps do you follow and how to start a business in Florida?
Step 1: Select a name for your LLC
Getting a name for your Florida LLC is the first and most crucial step towards setting up your
business. Florida State has its naming laws requirements, which you must comply with.
You should also choose a name that is easy for potential clients and investors to search.
If you need any advice or service of process in naming laws or representation, this Rocket Lawyer review is for you.
What are the naming guidelines for a Florida limited liability company?
- Your choice of name for your Florida business must include the phrase “limited liability company” or any of its abbreviations, including LLC or L.L.C.
- Your Florida LLC name should not include words that would confuse it with a government agency such as a government agency, treasury, or FBI.
- If your name includes a restricted word such as a university or bank, you may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual such as a doctor to be part of the LLC
Before you can settle on a particular name, it is vital that you conduct a name search on the Sunbiz Florida website. Thus, you can know if your preferred Florida LLC name is already taken.
It will also help if you checkout if your choice of name is available as a web domain.
According to our Zen Business detailed review, the LLC service is helpful as it offers a name availability search.
Step 2: Get a registered agent in Florida
After coming up with a suitable name for your Florida LLC, the next step entails choosing a registered agent for the business.
A registered agent is a business entity or an individual that will receive tax forms, a notice of
lawsuits and legal documents on behalf of your LLC.
Simply put, the agent is your point of contact between the state and your business.
A registered agent in Florida must be a full-time resident of Florida. It can also be a registered agent service that is authorized to conduct business in Florida.
You are free to select yourself or any other individual in the LLC as a registered agent.
Step 3: File the Articles of Organization
Before you can start operation, you are required to have the legal document that allows you to set up the Florida LLC.
In Florida state, the legal document is known as Articles of Organization. In other states, it may be referred to as Certificate of Organization or Certificate of Formation.
You need to file for the Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations in Tallahassee Fl.
Probably you are wondering, can I set up an LLC myself?
Yes, you can.
When it comes to filing the Articles of Organization, you can do so in person, by mail, or online at My Florida Sunbiz website.
If filing by mail or at the website, you will need to provide the name and mailing address of the person(s) with the authority to manage the LLC. If you leave the section blank, the state will assume your Florida LLC is member-managed, and the member privacy will be protected.
If the LLC is member-managed, you should list the managers’ names unless they are an authorized representative or a company. When you provide the necessary information regarding your managers, then you protect their privacy.
The state allows you up to the due date of your first annual report to decide how your LLC will be managed. It would be best if you research more on member-managed and manager-managed LLCs before settling on one.
Step 4: Prepare a Florida LLC operating agreement
Is it mandatory to have a Florida LLC operating agreement?
No, it is not.
But is it essential?
We highly advise creating operating agreements for your Florida LLC. The agreement comes in handy in setting out the rights and responsibilities of members and managers. It ensures that the owners and managers are on the same page and reduces the chances of a conflict in the future.
The operating agreement also outlines the operative procedure and ownership of the business. It helps to preserve your limited liability by showing that the LLC is a separate entity.
If you don’t develop an operating agreement, the state will govern how the LLC will operate.
Step 5: Get an EIN for your company
What is an EIN, and why do you need one for your Florida LLC?
EIN refers to the Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN). It is a nine-digit number from the Internal Revenue System (IRS) used to identify a business entity and keep track of its income tax reports.
The EIN is the company’s social security number. You must obtain an EIN even if your business has more than a single member or it has no employees. Obtaining an EIN for your LLC enables your income tax to be calculated as a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship.
You can apply for the EIN from the IRS website, and it is free.
Note, apart from the Florida LLC Articles of Organization, you may require other business licenses and permits depending on the nature of your business and your location.
You can get more information about the state filing requirements and required business licenses from the MyFlorida.com website.
Plus, if you’ll have employees, collect sales tax, or sell goods, you need to register with the Florida Department of Revenue. You can register on paper or online.
Apart from being essential in tax and hiring employees, the EIN is also vital when opening a bank account for the business.
Step 6: File annual reports
After meeting all the legal requirements in LLC formation and starting operation, you will need to file a Florida LLC annual report to retain active status. The first report is due one year from the date of LLC formation.
It is mandatory to file the report online between January 1st and May 1st. You will pay an annual fee of $138.75. If you don’t meet the deadline and file your report after May 1st, you’ll have to pay a $400 late fee in addition to the LLC annual fee.
The state prepares you for the report filing by sending you reminder notices. The notices are sent to the LLC email you provide while submitting your documents.
How much does it cost to set up an LLC?
Will the process of starting an LLC dent your bank account?
Before you can start operations as an LLC in Florida, you are required to file for Articles of Organization. The Florida LLC filing fee for the legal document by the Florida Division of Corporations is $125.
After that, you can start your LLC.
The other cost comes when it's time to file the annual report. The filing fee for the annual report is $138.75 if you do it before the deadline. If you file the annual report after the deadline, you incur an additional $400 penalty and the annual report fee.
How long does it take to form an LLC in Florida?
How long it takes in forming an LLC in Florida depends on your choice of method for filing the Articles of Organization. You can file in person, online, or by mail.
If you file in person, the applications are processed according to the order of how they are received. It may take up to eight business days for your application to be processed if it’s online.
On average, it will take between two to four weeks for your application to be processed.
What happens if you have a foreign LLC conducting its business in Florida?
If you have an LLC organized outside Florida, make sure you register it with the Florida Secretary of State to operate as a business in the state.
You then need to appoint a registered agent service or an agent who is physically located in Florida. To register the business, you need to file for Qualification of Foreign LLC from the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.
The application should be accompanied by a Certificate of Existence from the foreign state. The certificate should be dated less than 90 days prior to the application. The filing for qualification will cost you $125.
Also, check out the Florida Division of Corporation’s business name database to see if the business name is available in Florida. If not available, then you need to adopt an alternate name and avail a certified and signed copy of the consent to managers.
If you want to form a Florida LLC, you will need to meet specific requirements. For instance, you need a registered agent service to link the business and the state. The registration is a seamless process and won’t cost you much. Your LLC Articles of Organization will be out in a few weeks, and you can start operations.
You are free to form an LLC as a multi-member or single-member LLCs. The limited liability protects their privacy.